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Homeowner complains of smelly air delivered by Panasonic ERV

Jabloz | Posted in General Questions on

I have installed in my house
ERV  Panasonic FV10vec1
It is pumping anything but fresh air.
Supply lines are short made of regular 4 inch pvc. Pipe
The smell was so bad that I had to remove unit. Panasonic tech support isn’t responsive. Over 1 year and no help
I feel smell coming out of supply collars when no connected ducting at all
I suspect that smell is highly toxic.
Does anyone have issues with smell using ERV?

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  1. Jabloz | | #1

    Need help

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    When the topic comes up, GBA advises readers to avoid the use of PVC pipe for fresh air ducts, because of the danger of outgassing and unpleasant odors.

    For example, one GBA article quotes Charlie Sullivan, who wrote, "The PVC/galvanized steel sounds like the worst possible combination to me: the steel will eventually rust out, and in the meantime, the PVC will outgas into your ‘fresh’ air."

    The PVC pipe may be contributing to the odor. So, perhaps, might the PVC cleaner used to prepare the joints, or the PVC glue.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Here is a link to the Panasonic ERV installation instructions.

    The instructions recommend the use of insulated flex duct and galvanized steel ductwork, not PVC plumbing pipe. See the image below. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

  4. Jabloz | | #4

    Panasonic did send new core.
    But they not responding anymore
    But new even before installation was smelly
    But I was thinking again smell will go away
    After a couple of days running I had to take it down
    Now is running outside without any ducts
    And smell stays same.

    Also Anybody knows company that can do
    Spray foam testing for offgassing

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #5

      Is the smell a “burning plastic” kind of smell? My guess is that you’re smelling the solvent used to put the PVC piping together. The pipe itself will not generally be smelly, but the solvent sure is! The solvent fumes should eventually dissipate, but it might take a while (weeks) if the solvent ran down the inside of the pipe. You might also want to check that the intake isn’t near something smelly outside.

      If you need testing, look for environmental consulting firms. Many of these firms will only be able to do work with outdoor land (wetlands, etc), but they can probably all refer you to a firm that can do air testing.


  5. green654 | | #6

    I’m having the same exact problem!!!!! And I’m banging my head against a wall trying to figure it out! We had a Trane ERV nstalled a week ago and the smell coming from vents is awful. But now when we turn
    Off ERV and just let AC run, vents still smell the same. They did MOT smell before. I’ve had the company out twice to try to solve problem and they can’t seem to fix it. I’m tempted to rip out entire system even
    Though I just paid $7000 for everything! Please tell me what you’ve found out.

  6. drafthunter | | #7

    I bought the Panasonic intelli-balance 100 from Supplyhouse. Luckily one of the reviews mentioned there was an odor due to the styrene inside the unit. He ran the unit in his garage for 7 days and the odor went away. I did the same. I noticed the odor at first, then it went away.

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